BBC journalist James Landale turns down job working as Theresa May's head of communications

Prime Minister knocked back in bid to replace key aides after disastrous election result

Benjamin Kentish
Wednesday 05 July 2017 11:02
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May has already lost her chiefs of staff and other key members of her team following the disastrous election result
May has already lost her chiefs of staff and other key members of her team following the disastrous election result

BBC diplomatic editor James Landale has rejected a job working for Theresa May, he has announced.

Mr Landale, who previously served as the corporation’s deputy political correspondent, said it was “nice to be asked,” but that he had “decided not to apply” for the role – widely reported to be as the Prime Minister’s head of communications.

Mr Landale was tipped as a frontrunner for the job, which is currently vacant, alongside BBC head of live political programming Robbie Gibb. However, he has now ruled himself out after saying he is happy in his current role.

He wrote on Twitter: “Parish news: I was asked if I would consider a job at No10. Nice to be asked but have decided not to apply. Have great job at BBC.”

The Downing Street director of communications role has been vacant since Katie Perrior resigned shortly before the general election. She became the first of several key May aides to walk out after the disastrous election result, and was followed by the Prime Minister's joint chiefs of staff, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill.

Ms May's press secretary, Lizzie Loudon, also left and has since been replaced by former Sun journalist Craig Woodhouse.

Mr Landale attended Eton at a similar time to David Cameron and later spent ten years at The Times. He moved to the BBC in 2003 and was made deputy political editor in 2009.

Downing Street sources told The Guardian both he and Mr Gibb had been interviewed for a job. The latter leads the BBC’s political team in Westminster, overseeing the Daily and Sunday Politics programmes.

The Number 10 head of communications role is currently being filled by Chris Wilkins, Ms May’s director of strategy. Mr Wilkins is believed to be in the running for the job on a full-time basis.

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